For people like me who are usually pinching pennies I usually start my Christmas shopping early. Very early. I start in July and August and by October I’m finished. Now people often think I’m either very tedious or tidy to do it so early but they are wrong.
As a mother of two, I learned that if I got it done super early then I also didn’t get any flack from the kids. I have never had any pressure to buy into a fad Christmas toy or deal with a long Christmas list because whenever the kids asked me for the newest trend toy I would simply say, ‘Sorry, your presents are already bought.’ The End!
What I do is pay attention to whatever it is that each child is yearning for. Not just what the trend is but what they talk about continually and look at when we go to the store or play with when they are at a friends house. At any one time almost every kid has something they yearn for. If I know what this is then I can look around for the best buys. Sometimes I get it second hand if its expensive. By the time Christmas gets here the kids are often wrapped-up into the trend toys and temporarily forget the thing they really wanted. When they open the box they are surprised and usually not disappointed.
When I was about 7 or 8 years old my father got re-married to a woman who basically bought everything on our Christmas list. At first I was surprised since before then my father did little for us but then I thought it was cool to be able to ask for something and get it. As I got older I realized that no matter what I got when the presents were all open I was still disappointed. Obviously I was not disappointed at the presents since I got what I wanted but it was the disappointment that Christmas was almost over and the excitement of opening impending presents was over.
I know some parents fall into the guilt trap that consumerism brings. The feeling that their kids will get bullied or not fit in with others if they do not have the newest toy or piece of clothing. I know that feeling both as a kid and as a parent but it is a falsehood. Your children’s self-esteem is not based on things but on love and the feeling of belonging. The newest toy will not help them learn to make friends or deal with bullying. If they are going to get bullied its going to happen no matter what they have. Love your kids at home. Make them feel safe and important and when they leave the house they will have the tools they need to deal with whatever comes their way. Keep in touch with their teachers and know who their friends are. It really helps. Of course its easier to say then do but worthwhile things usually are.